Accused of sexual harassment, long-time Maui lawmaker Joe Souki announced his resignation.
  
   The former House Speaker agreed to a settlement by the State Ethics Commission, after several women came forward to complain.
        Souki will not only have to resign, he will have to stay out of elected office for the next two years, pay a $5,000 fine and issue an apology.

"I'm sorry that I hurt you, but it was unintentional. I never meant to hurt you," said Souki to the women who accused him of inappropriately hugging and kissing them. 

Several woman who came forward after Rachael Wong filed a complaint against Souki.
The 84 year old legislator said he doesn't recall any bad behavior on his part, and claimed he was just trying to comfort Wong when she resigned as Department of Human Services Director. 

"I felt kind of sorry for her, so I got up and went to her and put my arms around her. I don't remember, and I kissed her cheek. She didn't ask for me to kiss her cheek, I went ahead because I felt sorry for her, and I did it sincerely," stated Souki.

In a settlement agreement with the State Ethics Commission, Souki admitted his actions likely violated the Fair Treatment Law.

"Speaker Emeritus Souki admitted that the behavior went beyond the usual Aloha kiss," said Ethics Commission Director Dan Gluck.

Wong said the incident happened nine months before she stepped down. 
It left her angry, and concerned for other women.

"I came to the realization that I needed to say something, and I'm guessing the #MeToo movement was part of that. I was moved by what was happening around the continent and around the world," said Wong.

"This MeToo movement is a vital movement, I'm not blaming the women. I'm just concern it took so many years for someone to decide that 'He done me wrong', and it is hard to defend things like that. If you were so bothered for all these years, just say something, say something," said Souki's attorney Michael Green.

Wong said she stayed quiet until last fall because of fear of retaliation, public backlash, and the knowledge there were limited recourse available.

"I felt powerless in the moment. I checked around and no venues existed, I was told there were none," said Wong.

Now, she wants to empower other women to speak up about sexual harassment, by reaching out to various agencies or makehawaiisafe.org.

"People want to tell their stories. They want to have an outlet to tell stories and be believed," added Wong.

This is the first resignation of a powerful Hawaii leader because of sexual harassment claims, but attorneys for both Wong and Souki believe it won't be the last.

"I can't imagine after this story goes out, how many people in various places, are not going to sleep well tonight," said Green.

"This is the opening of a door. This is not the end of anything, but the beginning," stated Wong.
 
Even though Wong filed the complaint against Souki, she also acknowledged his decades of public service and the positive impacts he's had on Hawaii.

         Souki said he will spend the next week clearing out his legislative office before returning to Maui to continue his career as a realtor. He didn't rule out a future return to elected office.